Rule changes may
shorten the games

Aug 22, 2006 2:39 AM

The NCAA announced several rule changes for the 2006 college football season.

Although there was nothing so earth-shattering that it would dramatically alter the complexion of the game, some of them may significantly affect how long the game is played.

And, if a game is shortened by only five minutes, the result could affect the point "totals" posted by Nevada sports books.

One change that will shorten the game by at least five minutes is the rule affecting the clock after a change of possession.

In the past, the clock wouldn’t start until the team snaps the ball after gaining possession. This season, the clock starts when the referee signals the ball is ready for play.

The clock will also start when the kicker puts his foot into the ball on a free kick, rather than when the receiving team touches the ball.

The NCAA rules committee also limited the half-time intermission to 20 minutes. Note that this is still longer than the 12 minutes mandated in the NFL.

Scoring may be affected by the lowering of the kicking tee from 2 inches to 1 inch.

The shorter tee may make long field goals more difficult, and could cut down on the number of touchbacks because of kicks into the end zone.

Reducing the number of touchbacks should also shorten the game.

When a kicking team commits a penalty (not a personal foul), the receiving team this year will have the option of taking the penalty after the return, or having the kicking team re-kick after a 5-yard penalty.

By taking the penalty yardage after the return, it is expected that many re-kicks will be avoided, once again, shortening the length of the game.